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How do I easily copy or clone a Windows boot partition onto a new hard drive?

I have a 120GB drive and want to make a clone in case I break something. It doesn't have to be bit for bit, just file by file.

I have a spare 80GB, but will by a bigger drive if there is no other option.

The drive has Windows Vista and some data, but only takes up 30GB, so I could just re-size the partition, then use GPartEd or similar to copy the C: partition - if I knew bow to get the result to boot. BUT, ow can I copy the boot sector too?

As I say, I want bootable copy of that 30GB Windows Vista. I would prefer to use the spare drive that I already have, but will buy a new drive if I must.

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marked as duplicate by Nick Josevski, DragonLord, random Feb 28 '12 at 2:47

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Point of clarification - are you averse to buying SOFTWARE? There are tons of products that will do a disk-to-disk or volume-to-volume bootable copy, even where sizes differ, that are perfectly bootable with no extra effort on your part. –  Shinrai Feb 28 '12 at 0:00
    
+1 both. I can buy, but there is so much for free... sorry if it seems duplicate. I will look at the other question –  Mawg Feb 28 '12 at 1:13
    
wrt possible dupe. Sounds like the OP wants to have two drives in future, just copy old to new and boot from new. Not quite what I want. I do know of some of the suggestions and they copy a partition - but not a boot sector –  Mawg Feb 28 '12 at 1:15

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You could use a specialized disk cloning tool such as Clonezilla to copy the contents of the drive sector-for-sector, by using the dd option. This will include the boot sector. Several other options are available, which can more efficiently copy the volume.

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+1 but "Boot loader, including grub (version 1 and version 2) and syslinux, could be reinstalled" no mention of windows Also, that requires me to buy a new, larger harddrive. I can't use the 80gB that I have spare. I will still play with it, though –  Mawg Feb 28 '12 at 1:18

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